Taking the picture

If you can, shoot on a cloudy day, first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon, especially if you're shooting outdoors. At these hours, the light is softer and more flattering. Otherwise, try to place the model in open shadeunder a tree, for example.

More headshot tips:

• Position your model so the backdrop is in the distance. Check for telephone poles or anything else that may appear to pierce the subject's head.

• Stand within ten feet of your subject, so your fill-in flash reaches. Use your zoom lens so your model's upper body fills the frame and helps soften the background. (Unwittingly, most people stand too far away from their subjects.)

• After a few frames, review your work and adjust as necessary. The soft background effect may not be as strong on a consumer-grade digicam as with a pro camera and a telephoto lens, but you'll definitely notice a pleasant difference.

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